Want personalized picks that fit your family?

Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.

Get age-based picks

The Professional

Movie review by
Teresa Talerico, Common Sense Media
The Professional Movie Poster Image
Stylish, mature hitman thriller is quite violent.
  • R
  • 1994
  • 109 minutes
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 9 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Characters on both sides of the law engage in criminal or immoral behavior, including killing, drug dealing, and mob activity. The main character, a hitman, is portrayed as an otherwise caring soul who tries to rise to the challenge when he must protect a little girl. Law-enforcement characters are portrayed as crooked and more morally bankrupt than the film's criminals.


Graphic violence throughout, including murder, shooting, explosions. A knife is held to a man's throat; people have guns pointed at them or held to them. A man who's been badly wounded in a shootout launches grenades strapped to his body, causing a massive explosion that kills both him and his nemesis. A little girl is abused (slapped, hit) by members of her family. She is seen with a black eye and a bloody nose. While standing in the shower, a man stitches up a bloody wound on his chest.


At times there's a rather creepy undercurrent of sexual chemistry between a grown man and a young girl. When a hotel desk clerk asks her about her male guardian, she lies, saying, "He's my lover."


Many uses of words like "f--k," ass, and "bitch."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Various characters drink, smoke, and take drugs. Kilos of cocaine are shown. A 12-year-old girl is seen smoking cigarettes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this action thriller includes some scenes of extreme violence, including one in which a family -- including a 4-year-old boy -- is brutally gunned down in their home. There are also explosions, abuse (of a 12-year-old), and more. The 12-year-old girl develops an unusual relationship with a much older hitman (who teaches her his trade); there's an undercurrent of chemistry between them. Strong language includes "f--k" and "bitch"; characters also drink and smoke.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byLauraEve August 17, 2011


Violence is current throughout the film. There are scenes near the start of the film where some women are dressed inappropriately, there is also a short shot of... Continue reading
Parent of a 5, 9, 11, and 14 year old Written byJamesRobertson January 4, 2009
Teen, 14 years old Written byTwilightVamps13 June 27, 2011

Brilliantly done, but know your child.

My parents are very strict about what I watch. I have seen less then a dozen R-rated flicks in my time, much unlike most of my friends, and this one was most de... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old June 12, 2010

Great Entertainment

this movie is awesome. If you like action movies or thrillers, this is a must see. Expect lots of graphic bloody violence and swearing.

What's the story?

In THE PROFESSIONAL, reclusive New York City hitman Leon (Jean Reno) lets his nurturing side come out after rescuing 12-year-old Mathilda (Natalie Portman). Leon, who has lived like a hermit for years, discovers a strong paternal instinct when he takes the girl in. Mathilda's abusive upbringing has hardened her to violence and forced her to grow up fast, yet she's still youthful enough to love dress-up games and puppet shows. But his young charge often seems more worldly and calculating than her surrogate father figure. In fact, Mathilda makes a deal with Leon: He'll teach her how to be an assassin, and she'll take care of all the housekeeping duties. Their life includes everyday activities like cooking and cleaning, as well as lessons in firing a sniper rifle from a rooftop. Their mutual goal? Revenge against a group of thugs who performed a vicious act of violence against Mathilda's family.

Is it any good?

Jean Reno is quietly menacing in his hit man mode and awkwardly affectionate in his father-figure role. Leon lavishes TLC on his cherished houseplant; every day he carefully waters it, polishes its leaves, and arranges it just so on a sunny ledge. The symbolism is undeniable: Here is a man who kills people for a living but harbors a gentle soul and even a strict code of professional ethics ("no women, no kids").

Co-star Gary Oldman is chilling as a psychotic, corrupt DEA agent with a habit of popping pills right before his crooked team's various raids. And in her first major film role, Portman gives an intelligent and surprisingly mature performance.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the media tends to portray "good guys" and "bad guys." Are real people either all bad or all good -- or is it more complicated than that? How do you feel about the movies' tendency to portray gangsters' and criminals' "sensitive side"? Does that excuse their bad behavior?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate